US Sen to PH Govt: Free De Lima instead of threatening visa restrictions

US Sen to PH Govt: Free De Lima instead of threatening visa restrictions

The Philippine has been slammed by US Senator Patrick Leahy, he says that the Philippine government should free opposition senator and number one critic of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte – Leila De Lima.

Leahy’s reaction was an offshoot of the threat given a few days ago to ban the two senators who authored the resolution for the release of the detained opposition senator.

"Rather than responding by irrationally threatening to deny visas to American citizens, the Duterte government should either release Senator De Lima immediately or provide her the fair, public trial she is entitled to," Leahy said in a statement.

Opposition Senator Leila De Lima
(photo credit to owner)

US Senator Patrick Leahy and US Sen. Dick Durbin proposed the release of senator Leila De Lima whom they described as being wrongfully detained by the Duterte administration and that those officials involved in such detention be barred from entering the United States.

The 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill which was recently approved by US President Donald Trump includes such proposal.

Philippine Secretary of Justice in a prepared statement said: “"that Senator de Lima’s indictment was upheld by the Philippine Supreme Court and that she has been freely exercising all the rights of an accused in a fair and public trial.”

"They also ought to know that Senator de Lima can only be released upon an acquittal, and not at anytime upon pressure exerted by foreign politicians who do not represent the people of the Philippines," he also said, referring to Leahy and his colleagues in the US Senate.

"The good senator from Vermont, through his spokesperson David Carle, is showing more ignorance and uttering amusing nonsense on a subject matter based on bogus narratives coming from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's vocal and noisy critics and detractors,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said of Leahy in an earlier statement.

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Report from PhilStar

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